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April Fool's Day


The 1st of April is a day for practical jokes in many countries around the world. Some April Fool's jokes publicised in the media include:

  • In 2002, British supermarket chain Tesco published an advertisement in The Sun, announcing a genetically modified 'whistling carrot'. The ad explained that the carrots were engineered to grow with tapered air holes in their side. When fully cooked, these holes would cause the carrot to whistle.

  • In the early 1960s there was only one television channel in Sweden, broadcast in black and white. As an April Fool’s joke, it was announced on the news that viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception by pulling a nylon stocking over their screen.

  • In 1934, many American newspapers, including The New York Times, printed a photograph of a man flying through the air, supported by a device powered only by the breath from his lungs. Accompanying articles excitedly described this miraculous new invention.

There are several theories about the origin on the April Fool's Day custom. One explanation focuses on the introduction of the Julian and the Gregorian calendar. From ancient times, people in some parts of Europe celebrated the New Year on or around the March Equinox. However, the new calendar systems defined January 1 as the first day of the year.

People who forgot about the change or observed the old rules for other reasons became victims of various jokes. For example, jokers would discreetly stick paper fish to their backs. In France, the victims of this prank were called Poisson d'Avril, or April Fish.

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